Help In Evaluating Shops For Prototype Machining

After countless months in the planning, designing, researching and modifying, your company is finally ready to submit the design to a prototype machining service. Choosing the right company of this important first step in moving from design to production is a make or break decision, and one that should be carefully considered. Unfortunately, not choosing the right prototyping service can result in delays in the development of the prototype, which can put a significant strain on the Original Equipment Manufacturer, particularly for a startup company. It can also result in enough of a delay for a competitor to beat you to the market, which means you are starting out fighting an uphill battle rather than cornering the market. Small Enough to Focus on Specifics There are some companies offering prototype machining which have a very narrow focus. Others offer a wide range of services for multiple industries. Regardless of which type of company you choose, look for a company with a focus on customer support, satisfaction and attention to detail. Smaller companies tend to be easier to work with for prototyping as they work closely with the OEM to understand the specific requirements for the part or component. This can be instrumental in troubleshooting designs and creating cost-effective options to move from prototyping to production. Knows the Industry It is extremely beneficial for the company completing the prototype machining to have a solid background in producing parts and components in your industry. This is particularly important in industries such as aerospace, automotive, food, and beverage production, manufacturing and even in packaging where tight tolerances and adherence to industry standards will be a critical consideration. For many OEMs, having a machining service which can move seamlessly from prototyping to low or high-volume production will also be a point of consideration. This allows for quality control and scalability as the demand for the parts or components...

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Signs Of A Top Service Offering Custom CNC Machining

One of the biggest mistakes that many Original Equipment Manufacturers make is to assume that all CNC machining services are the same. In fact, just as in any industry, there are differences in these companies that make them a great service provider or one that just does an average job. Separating the best custom CNC machining shops from the average or low-quality providers is not difficult, and you don’t have to be an engineer or a machinist to spot the differences. Durability in the Industry As all machining is a service industry, companies that don’t provide the quality control and precision products their customers expect will not stay in business for too long. Always consider the company’s reputation in the industry as well as their actual years in business. These two factors are a solid predictor of the top CNC machining shops with companies that have grown and expanded proving their ability to work with their customers to meet or exceed expectations. Top Communication A machining service should take the time to ensure they understand the specifications, industry standards or tolerances that you need to have used for the order. They don’t make assumptions and the take the time to clearly understand all aspects of the project before quoting a price. They are also able to talk to their customers and provide transparency on why they are recommending a specific machining process. Often, the best CNC machining shops may be able to make suggestions to help to speed up production or offer another machining option that may provide a superior end product or help to lower the cost per unit. The best companies have a focus on customer service and quality control. This will be evident in the way they approach the project as well as the services and end-product they...

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Drilling Operation Services Done Right

Custom drilling operation services are typically produced with equipment that relies on computer assistance for precision and accuracy. Custom drilling, boring, and 3D milling all require state of the art equipment and software along with a technician that is fully trained in drilling machinery and procedures. Custom jobs can now be completed to the customer’s exact specifications no matter how complex or unique in size or shape. Top-Quality Drilling A top-quality drilling operation shop will provide accuracy with every job, in addition to timeliness no matter the size of the job. Drill bits come in a plethora of sizes and shapes and with Computer Numerical Control (CNC) providing the highest level of precision. Drilling equipment that most full-service shops will have, include 5-axis Mori Seiki turning centers, OKK machining centers, lathes, VMCs and manual machines. Custom jobs often begin without a schematic for the product or prototype, and machinists that are dedicated and skilled in their craft are able to provide top execution without a drawing or blueprint. Full-Service Drilling Operation Shops are Flexible and Reliable No two drilling jobs are exactly alike, and the best custom machine shops will be able to handle all of your drilling needs, no matter how unique they may be. By utilizing the best equipment and machinery, a full-service shop can provide drilling services across a very wide range of jobs. Customers should feel confident that all of their custom drilling needs can be provided in-house and at a high level of skill and accuracy. Machinist Training and Skill are Key to a Successful Drilling Operation Similar to many other technology-driven industries, drilling results rely mostly on the machinists. No matter how advanced the equipment and machinery, the technology is only as good as the person running it. Excellent shops will ensure that their staff is continuously trained on all of the most recent advancements in drilling equipment, software improvements, and industry trends and regulations. Ongoing training and education allow machinists at custom shops to provide their customers with the best-finished product...

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Turning Operations: Tooling Changes With Technology

Machine shops offer, among many different services, turning operations. This involves the removal of metal or other material from the outer diameter of a workpiece as it rotates. The purpose is to create a circular shape or cylindrical surface with a single point tool. Over the years, while the goal has remained the same, the tools have changed to reflect technological advances. Early Turning Tools One of the early tools for machinist performing a turning operation were single-pointed, solid, rectangular pieces of high-speed steel (HSS) with rake and clearance angles only on one end. Prior to this, the tools commonly were composed of high-carbon steel. HSS tools offered a distinct advantage with their ability to withstand much higher temperatures and yet retain their hardness (temper). Other qualities included: Faster speed of cutting Higher hardness levels Greater abrasion resistance However, issues remained concerning the ongoing need to sharpen them. A dull HSS tool requires sharpening, generally employing a pedestal grinder. Carbide tools offered further improvement. For turning operations, they offered machinists the chance to improve their capabilities and production speed. Carbide turning tools, compared to their predecessors, offer: Improved wear resistance Increased tool longevity Enhanced productivity However, like HSS turning tools, carbide tools require sharpening. While not as frequently, they are not conducive to fast turnover. They require the use of a diamond wheel and special training and experience in using it. Tools for Turning Operations Today While some machine shops still employ HSS tools and carbide, others are currently utilizing better technology to improve productivity and reduce the necessity of retooling and maintenance. Tool holders with coated or uncoated carbide inserts mechanically locked into place are common in workplaces. CNC turning machines make multi-axis turning operations simple. Using carbide inserts, they operate with CAM to provide machinists with more options than ever before. In the hands of a skilled operator, they simplify what was once...

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The Value of Prototype Machining

Do you have an idea for an exciting new product? Perhaps you are thinking of making improvements on existing products. This can take a great deal of research and development and prototype machining can be highly beneficial. Let’s take a closer look at the process, to discover the many benefits it can provide today’s businesses. What is a Prototype? Prototypes are working models of new ideas, concepts and designs. In other words, if you are thinking of creating a new product, you may want to manufacture some test samples first. This gives you an idea of what to expect and you can test the prototype to see just how well it works. It could be a new gear, mold, bolt, housing or any number of things which require machining. Some working prototypes may be created in clear plastic so you can view internal parts. This can greatly facilitate testing. Why Use Prototype Machining? Suppose you plan to produce a special part like a bolt or shaft, and it will be used in thousands of applications. You will need to manufacture thousands of these parts and you want to make sure they are perfect for the job. It makes sense to produce a small run so you can test them to see how well they function. This will help you avoid mistakes or errors which can lead to costly changes or even product liability lawsuits. How Are Prototypes Different from the Actual Product? There are three basic ways prototypes can differ from the finished product. For example: Production methods – you may want to see what will happen when you mill, lathe or grind a specific material. In fact, you might not wish to use the most sophisticated methods to get a good idea of its strength or other properties. In other words, high tolerance may be necessary for the actual product but not for some types of testing procedures and this can be a cost effective way to prototype. Material – to save money you can sometimes produce metal parts with plastic or other cheaper materials, when making a prototype. Less detail – you can often save time and money when you produce facsimiles with very little detail. This is especially true if you are still in the design stage and expecting changes. Should You Perform Your Own Prototype Machining? Many companies today choose to outsource prototyping for a number of reasons. For example, a good service can assist you with the design process and has all the right materials and equipment for the job. This can help you save a great deal of time, money and...

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